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Giving a Take-Home Test

If you're still racking your brain on how to find much easier ways to initially weed out the big pack of resumes for your firm's vacancy, try giving a take-home test.

YES, it will probably discourage some applicants to apply, much less follow-up. YES, its extra work checking all those answers. And YES, you can't even be 100% sure that the applicant did the work all by himself.

But you also have to consider that, YES, only those truly interested in the job will bother to apply and take the test. YES, you'll have a pretty good glimpse of how the candidate ticks professionally. And YES, it'll give you a good topic to start on for the job interview.

If you're ready to give a take-home test to candidates (and if your recruiting deadline permits it), take some time to read a few tips on giving and maximizing the administration of a take-home test:

Make sure the test fits the job you're offering.

Don't give a test that isn't relevant to the job opening, or to the kind of applicants you're looking for. Don't give an oral communications test if the job you're offering is in Computer Programming; it only adds work to both you and the candidate. Remember that the objective of giving a take-home test is to test the candidate's basic technical know-how for the job. If there's anything else you want to know about the candidate (such as attitude, work ethic, etc), you can ask that during the interview. Besides, if the candidate turns out badly during the test, you wouldn't want to know anything else about him or her anyway.

Talk about their answers during the interview.

When the test turns out fine, and you decide to schedule the candidate for an interview, make sure to make them elaborate on their answers during the test. See if they really know their stuff. This'll help you check the validity of their answer and see whether they really DID answer the test themselves like they were supposed to.

Give a test that involves a bit of research on the part of the applicant.

Doing this further weeds out the people in your applicant pool who are not as interested in the job as you'd want them to be. Not to mention the lazy ones. Also, this requires the applicant to use more skills that you can assessed earlier on. You may want to ask applicants for a Bank Loan Officer to review and give a mock decision to a credit application of a certain company (which they have to research on), or ask sales applicants to explain how they'd land a big account with a certain firm.

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